Twelve pitchers from all over the country attended the Charlie Hough knuckleball clinic that took place in Los Angeles over the weekend of January 14th and 15th, 2023. The pitchers came from a variety of backgrounds. There was a little leaguer, some high school and college pitchers, a couple of over-the-hill weekend warriors and even a Triple-A level pro pitcher.
Charlie Hough pitched 24 years in the Major Leagues for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and the Florida (now Miami) Marlins. In fact, he threw the very first pitch for the Miami Marlins franchise; a strike to Jose Offerman on Opening Day. He then went on to serve six years as an MLB pitching coach for the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. Add that up, and you get 30 years of Major League experience.
On top of that impressive playing and coaching resume, he serves as a special assistant to the GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He scouts the Single-a California League for the organization, and he fills in for minor league pitching coaches from time to time. He also serves as a pitching whisperer, of sorts. The Dodgers send him to minor league teams to work with a specific pitcher when that particular pitchers shows promise but is having problems. He’s the fixer.
Charlie has a special place in my heart. He’s essentially responsible for my own pro career. I met him when I was very young and had decided to chase glory as a pro knuckleball pitcher without ever having played in High School or College. He called me “horse sh*t with potential,” gave me his number and instructed me to give him a call.
He taught me the knuckleball alongside RA Dickey almost 15 years ago. It was apparent to me right away that he was a guru and he straightened me out right away. About four months into working with him, he asked, “Are you ready, kid?”
He always calls me kid, even today.
“Ready for what, Charlie?”
“Ready to play pro baseball.”
And with that, my career was born. It’s been a long, tough slog, but it’s been worth it.